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Ah, yes, springtime in Denver. The familiar sights, sounds and smells greet us once again. Drivers on I-25 have finally gotten over the shock of discovering that sometimes it snows in Colorado, hardcore skiers and snowboarders suddenly become backpackers and rock climbers, and Aspen has begun encouraging (read: begging) people outside the 1% to come visit for, “just a night! Or even a day! Stop by for a couple hours…anything…we’re so lonely.” Some things, however, don’t change with the seasons. Denver still maintains its dubious claim of “300 Days of Sunshine,” stoners are still wondering who closes the door on the bus when the bus driver gets out, and I could still use a beer.
Luckily, at DU, the mystical system of timing called “The Quarter System” gives us plenty of reasons to need a good beer in springtime (though this is, of course, not the case for the agedly challenged minors who make up half the undergraduate body, as they have never once had the opportunity to imbibe upon such splendor). We followers of the Cult of the Quarter get to spend most of each May watching our compatriots at other universities move on to happier and sunnier summer breaks while we are still in the throes of midterms, projects, and final exams. Since so many Pioneers must spend such a wonderful time of year locked indoors, I thought I would write up a quick study aid (read: beer review) designed to let you enjoy spring in a 12-ounce bottle or can, even if you can’t be outside to enjoy the weather or just ponder such deep questions as above posed by our cannabis connoisseur friends. Thankfully, the thought of bottling spring along with a little water, hops, barley and sugar is not a new one, and talented brasseurs across the world have been working to deliver this to us for generations.
Great Divide Orabelle – Denver, CO
Find it at Keg’s or at Morgan’s
IBUs: Just about as relevant as studying for a final when all your friends are outside playing volleyball – that is to say, not.
ABV: 8.3% (enough to make it seem like you don’t even have a final tomorrow at all!)
This wonderful ale will easily beguile you into believing that your greatest concern in life involves neither arbitrary examinations nor the bus driver, but instead, “what is that spice I taste? Is that coriander? And do I taste a hint of orange?” Indeed, this Belgian-style Tripel is the ideal companion to a wistful gaze out the window at sunbathing miscreants who clearly must be failing their classes, or something, right? Brewed with rye, wheat, and oats, in addition to the traditional barley, and two different strains of yeast, this is a smooth but very complex ale that just wants to spend some time getting to know you better.
Renegade Redacted Rye IPA – Denver, CO
Also at Keg’s and Morgan’s
IBUs: 60 (bitterness above how you felt getting a C on your midterm, but nowhere near as bitter as you feel about actually having to take an optional final)
ABV: 7% (Well, I only need a C in the class to get my degree…screw the final, I’ll have another)
Renegade’s number-one seller amongst taproom patrons since basically forever, this hoppy ale was originally brewed in the Renegade founder’s backyard. Its rye malt makes it about as peppery as your professor when you requested that optional final be take-home, though this balances out the citrusy hop flavor that dominates the character of this beer. As surprising as finding how easy it is to rip through 9 seasons of How I Met Your Mother while procrastinating in Week Ten, and just as satisfying, this Springtime beer will keep you out of the library and in a Springtime state of mind for at least as long as you need to forget why you technically came to college.
River North White – Denver, CO
Find it at Keg’s!
IBUs: 20 (Not a care in the world, just like every time you drink a lot of wine before a mediocre house party)
ABV: 5% (Good thing they come in tall cans)
Besides the aesthetically pleasing can appealing to my Type A+ personality, this beer has a lot going for it from a small brewery in Denver’s trending RiNo district. If you want to feel just as hip as the person who first thought of calling it “RiNo,” then you must make sure all your friends see you drinking this Witbier, which they’ve probably never heard of, from its stylish packaging. This is a simple yet enjoyable wheat beer with sweet banana flavors. The sweet fruit flavors even out in the end, in the same way you keep telling yourself your GPA will once you graduate.
Even if you can’t spend May lazing on your front porch like those slackers at Regis, at least a few good beers could keep you convincing yourself that you really do like the quarter system.
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